Once again, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo sits atop the midnight madness throne. The yearly tradition of Izzo’s entrances may have reached a pinnacle on Friday night inside the Breslin Center for Michigan State Madness. Moments after women’s head basketball coach Suzy Merchant danced at center court to Beyonce, Izzo made his appearance as a member of KISS.
Izzo, in full makeup, made his way on stage and performed with the KISS cover band, playing the accordion. Following the rock show, Izzo addressed the fans.
College basketball coaches have chosen to go with some interesting entrances at preseason events over the years. Michigan State’s Tom Izzo has a new theme every year, usually having something to do with the destination of that season’s Final Four, and last year New Mexico’s Craig Neal rode a Harley into ‘The Pit” to kick things off in his first season as head coach.
Friday night Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith channeled his inner “Shaft,” complete with an intro video and Tubby dressing just like the 70’s motion picture hero. And after the video Smith rode into the arena on a motorcycle, which as you can see in the video above he had some trouble controlling. No one was injured, thankfully.
Dressed as Shaft, Tubby Smith drives a motorcycle on to the court. Crashes it. Then asked if he scratched the court. Awesome.
Throughout the history of Midnight Madness, which is more of an “Evening Madness” with the recent changes to when teams can begin practicing, college students attempting half-court shots for prizes has been a common occurrence. Prizes at various schools have included a new car, tuition for the year and even cash prizes.
Friday night at Clemson’s early season event, named “Rock the John,” sophomore Ryan Beck attempted a half-court shot with a prize of $25,000 on the line. As you can see in the video above Beck made the shot. All that stands between Beck and his cash prize is certification from the vendor, which in all likelihood means that they need to make sure he didn’t cross the line before releasing the ball or anything to that effect.
Beck stated in the post-shot interview that he would use the money to help pay for his tuition.
When it comes to the start of practices many programs like to get creative, and that’s been the case since Lefty Driesell started “Midnight Madness” in 1971 while at the University of Maryland. With the NCAA moving the start of practices up in recent years, allowing teams to get going six weeks before the first Friday of the regular season (this year that date is October 3), schools have explored many different ideas when it comes to celebrating the start of a new season and firing up their fan base.
“Each year, our goal is to make this event bigger and better than the last,” Haase said in the release. “Blazer fans have shown up in full force the past two years, and we know that they will once again enjoy this year’s Hoops on the Haasephalt. ”
According to UAB last year’s event attracted nearly 4,000 spectators, and the combination of some outdoor basketball with homecoming festivities could very well exceed that number this time around.
UAB finished the 2013-14 season with an 18-13 record, going 7-9 in Conference USA play. The Blazers will be young this season, with the 2014-15 roster having just three upperclassmen (two seniors and a redshirt junior) to go along with ten underclassmen. UAB’s most productive returnee is senior forward C.J. Washington, who averaged 13.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest last season.
Longwood University held its preseason event at a later date than most Division I teams, holding “Lancer Madness” on Wednesday night. Given the proximity to Halloween, the men’s and women’s basketball teams came together to put forth their best version of the dance scenes in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video.
There seemed to be a little confusion amongst members of the men’s team during the latter portion of the dance, so they just scrapped the routine and did their own thing. The video below also includes first-year men’s basketball head coach Jayson Gee firing up the crowd, and some clips from dunk contest champion Tristan Carey.
Not in the video is the shooting contest, which featured two players hitting half-court shots to win prizes for the fans.